Jail sentence for man who sold illegal tobacco at a Gloucester store
Farman Haiday was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court today for his involvement in the sale of illegal tobacco from General Store, Station Road, Gloucester between March and October 2011.
Haiday, of Falkner Street, Gloucester, born on 27th April 1980 was the owner of the shop between March and October 2011. His co-defendants were sentenced in December 2013.
Haiday, however, left the country in November 2011 and did not respond to court summonses.
Although it was said that he had returned to his native Iraq, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
When he returned to the UK in August 2015 he was arrested and brought before the courts where he pleaded guilty to 16 counts relating to the possession for supply and supply of counterfeit cigarettes from the shop.
Between March and October 2011, officers from Gloucestershire Trading Standards Service carried out a number of inspections at General Store where illegal tobacco was found. Haiday was warned about this but continued to sell counterfeit cigarettes.
Only small quantities of illegal tobacco were kept on the premises and observations by Trading Standards identified a vehicle and a property where stocks of illegal tobacco were kept. Shop staff frequently visited these storage areas to replenish supplies for the shop.
It was found that illegal tobacco was being kept in a child's play house at the rear of the shop. It was then being pushed into the shop on demand, through a hole in the wall.
Haiday was prosecuted in respect of 560 packets of 20 counterfeit cigarettes which copied the Palace, Regal and Superking brands. The value of the illegal tobacco was in the region of £4000.
Today Haiday was sentenced to 12 months in prison. Six months immediately to be followed by six months on licence. The amount of time which had passed and Haiday's subsequent good behaviour had little effect on the sentence handed down by the judge.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure said, "This case sends a strong message to anyone who thinks about breaking the law in this way. Illegal tobacco harms legitimate traders and puts people's health even more at risk. We'll always take action whenever we find illegal tobacco."